Unmasked:Volume 2

By: Cassia Leo

About the Book

Unmasked: Volume Two

The continuation of the Unmasked series from New York Times bestselling author Cassia Leo.

Who can be trusted? Who’s wearing a mask?

I left my former life – and my mask – behind.

Running from a past where I was born unloved. A past where I was betrayed by love.

Running from an organization with limitless power and stealth. Running for my life.

I never expected to find love on the run. Not in a tiny seaside town on an island in the middle of nowhere.

Not without my mask.

But it seems as if my sad story is being rewritten with someone else’s pen. But whose pen is it?

This question haunts me day and night. And I get my answer on a perfectly decadent evening. When I come home to find my bedroom perfumed with the scent of death.

He’s here.

Chapter One

Out of the darkness and into the light, a new Alex Carmichael is reborn.

I repeat this mantra in my head as I enter my new home. Drawing in deep breaths, I attempt to sooth myself after a stressful trip to the market, in broad daylight. A few minutes of this, then I head for the kitchen.

The kitchen in this one-hundred-fourteen-year-old cottage has an odd smell, like wet cement. It could be the crumbling plaster on the walls, or the slightly damp wood floors, which never seem to dry due to the humidity.

I open a tiny cupboard above the sink and put away my six new drinking glasses, purchased at a shop a few blocks away, which sells cheap housewares. Six drinking glasses for €1,49 and six dinner plates for €2,00. My first day on this tiny island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, I was a little confused by the comma in the place of the decimal point and the exchange rate. But three days in, I can do the math in my head now.

I put away the plates in the same cupboard, then I open the refrigerator to put away the fruits and vegetables I got at the open-air market just around the corner. I try not to think about the incident with the prickly pear from my last day in Los Angeles. But I also can’t let myself forget. I need to remember that, however slim, there is a possibility that Daimon is still alive. It’s possible I was so distraught that I missed a faint pulse in his neck. I must remember this so I can be ready for him.

I grab an apple out of the brown paper bag and just as I set it down on the shelf in the fridge, a knock at the door startles me. Slowly, I close the refrigerator door and lift the back of my shirt to slide my knife out of its holster. Stepping into the tiny living room, I glance at the two windows on each side of the front door, but I can’t see anyone. My heart races as I step closer. Finally, I slowly push aside the cover on the peephole and peer through.

I let out a deep sigh. It looks like a neighbor here to welcome me with a bottle of wine. I want to pretend I’m not home, but I can’t. I left my mask behind in L.A. No more hiding.

I slip the knife back into its holster and open the door. The man standing before me looks somewhat familiar. I think I may have seen him cutting some branches on a tree just down the lane.

“Hola! Mucho gusto. Bienvenido a La Palma. Soy tu nuevo vecino, Nicolas.”

I stare into his shiny green eyes for a moment, trying to remember one of the few Spanish phrases I have memorized, but I’m dumbfounded. “No habla español. I’m Alyssa.”

I don’t speak Spanish. I’m Alyssa.

I chose the name Alyssa because it sounds close enough to Alex that I think it will be easy for me to get used to. And it sounds innocent. I need people to think I’m innocent. Because I was innocent, until I invited Daimon into my apartment.

“You must be American,” he replies, his lips curling into a charming grin.

His eyes crinkle at the edges when he smiles and his skin is golden and tanned. He must work in the sun and he must be at least thirty years old. I don’t even know how old Daimon was. Is?

“Yes, I’m American. I’m here on holiday.”

“Oh, what a shame you’re only here temporarily. Are you leaving soon?” He tucks the bottle of wine behind his back, as if my response will determine whether or not I’m worthy of a welcome gift.

“No, I actually don’t know when I’m leaving. Could be a week or a month. Maybe longer. I’m … a photographer. I go wherever inspiration calls.”

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